Maxi 34

Felldancer

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Hello All,

Looking at a getting a 1995 Maxi 34 as a first boat but can not find much information about the them.

Does anyone have any experience of the boat, are there any know faults / weakness or strengths etc.

How do they sail?

Looking for a boat for 2-4 adults cruising around the south coast and over to channel islands and northern France.

Thanks in advance
 

Tranona

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Welcome to the forum.

Pete, who posts here as prv has one. He will probably be along soon, but you could send him a private message. There are literally hundreds of different boats suitable for your use, including the Maxi you are looking at.
 

Felldancer

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Hi thanks , yes have seen the review on the Maxiowners website which looks quite promising but these things usually have a bit of gloss to them.
 

Tranona

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Hi thanks , yes have seen the review on the Maxiowners website which looks quite promising but these things usually have a bit of gloss to them.

You will get the same from most owners - few people are critical of the boat they have spent their hard earned cash on! The boat you are considering has an excellent reputation and is capable of far more than cross channel family cruising - as indeed are most other boats of similar size and type. Whether it is the boat for you will depend on first its condition, second whether you feel confident sailing it and finally whether you can afford to buy and run it. The limited information is because relatively few have been sold in the UK (partly because of price), although they are obviously more popular in Scandinavia. Both designer and builder were very successful.
 

prv

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Pete, who posts here as prv has one. He will probably be along soon

And here I am :)

My retired parents and I jointly bought a 1998 Maxi 34 three years ago, replacing a 24' gaff yawl. Ariam had been used week in, week out for charter work since new; I'd say she stood up to it pretty well, but has certainly benefitted from the mid-life refit I've been doing over the winters since then. A privately-used boat would obviously be in better condition.

She sails very well; I'm no expert on sailing performance, either to get the most from her or to compare with other boats, but to me she feels fast for her size and type. The helm is always beautifully balanced, even in windy weather she's no effort to steer. Coming from gaff rig where I had a big square barn-door of a main to put out one side and a mizzen out the other, I find sailing dead downwind frustrating with the jib blanketed in the lee of the main. We have a cruising chute which I think was a mistake; a conventional spinnaker would have solved the downwind problem (which I'm sure is common to all fractional bermudan sloops, not just the Maxi). On the other hand, she goes upwind very nicely.

Speaking of tacking, the position of the sheet winches is a compromise. It allows the helmsman to work the jib, whether sailing single-handed or just for a tweak without having to bother the crew, but if anyone else is working it then they have to face aft where they can't see the sail. We semi-seriously considered small wing mirrors on the pushpit at one point! We tend to just have the helmsman say when to stop, but it wouldn't be great for racing.

The original mainsheet is a single part with a winch - I think this is stupid on a light 34 footer and have replaced it with a tackle and jammer like a big dinghy. Works fine. The original mainsail only had two reefs, but when we replaced it we went for three, which I think is necessary for UK waters as the full sail area is quite generous (a good thing).

The aft cabin takes up a lot of what would be locker space on other boats, leaving a single moderate-sized locker that also has to house the water tank, heater, freshwater and shower pumps, lots of bulky hoses to various skin fittings, and the 240v electrics. To the extent that the boat has any "faults", I'd say this is one of them. I've done what I can by relocating the pumps and electrics, boxing in the heater to protect it, and re-organising the plumbing to be more compact, allowing me to lower the floor a few inches. We can now just about carry a reasonable dinghy and a moderate amount of other gear, but we still use mobo-style stainless "baskets" to carry four fenders on the inside of the pushpit.

The cockpit feels very sheltered compared to some boats, thanks to the relatively high coamings and the fixed windscreen. I usually wear shorts on board whatever the weather - standing at the wheel my upper half might be in the wind but my legs are below the parapet as it were. The helmsman's seat on top of the aft cabin gives a good steering position when motoring or sailing in calm conditions; when it gets more boisterous there are several good options to brace yourself standing behind the wheel. I'm not sure how well it would work if you like to steer from the side deck; the wheel is probably a bit small for that and I'm not sure about places to sit.

The heads is excellent for the size of boat, with a good sink and worktop and a secure position on the "throne" at sea. The window into the cockpit under the sprayhood means you can leave it open all the time for ventilation. The galley is pretty decent too, though we've replaced the original cooker with its absent grill and minimal fiddles with a Spinflo Nelson which I'd happily recommend. Some boats this size have hardly any galley worktop except over the fridge, whereas we have space to put things while fetching more ingredients. My friend Chris has done everything from roast beef to chocolate cake to pizza (dough and tomato sauce from scratch) to bread and scones in this galley, some of them while at sea.

I would have preferred a more conventional forward-facing chart table, but the sideways-facing compromise is acceptable - I'd rather have the room in the heads which it enables. I still use paper charts on a day to day basis, but apart from working out the tides at the start of a Channel crossing it's not as if we need to sit there doing sums and drawing lines for long periods like the old days. In coastal waters most of the navigation happens on deck with the plotter anyway.

I believe Swedes tend to be tall, so it surprises me that the bunks on Ariam are relatively short. I'm ok at 5'9", but if you're very tall then you'll want to try them out. Another observation is that there's no really good double for a couple - the forepeak is fairly compact and the aft cabin is two singles. The port side saloon berth with the pull-out and in-fill might fit the bill but it's not ideal to have to stow it away during the day. The arrangement of the upholstery, using individual cushions to form the back of the sofas, is clever and allows you to pull out and use one for comfort when you need it without having a load of loose cushions flying around.

Handling under power is absolutely vice-free. She'll go backwards whichever way you ask, and a quick burst of throttle with the wheel hard over will kick the stern convincingly either way. I've never noticed any prop-walk with our three-bladed Volvo folder.

One modification I would recommend is to enlarge the small access hatch into the engine bay in the stoop-through. I made a new bulkhead, 90% of which is double doors that can also lift off their hinges, giving excellent access to the back of the engine, the fuel and hot-water tanks, etc. I also moved the fuel filters to the bulkhead here for easier access (actually I did loads more than this in the engine bay, but not everyone wants to do that much work :) ). Why Maxi didn't include these doors from new I have no idea, the cost would have been negligible.

One thing to watch out for is putting too much weight in the bow. It's relatively fine and too much ground tackle in the anchor locker or gear under the bunk will stop it rising to the sea properly. I've had to go back to the original rope-and-chain cable because all chain was too heavy (admittedly I did buy a slightly excessive anchor; forumite dom has the same on his 45-footer and it's by no means undersized there...)

Apart from the aforementioned cockpit locker issue, stowage is quite reasonable for the size and type of boat. She's not a blue-water voyager that will swallow six months' provisions and an entire spare engine into cavernous lockers, but she's not bad. Having the fuel and water tanks under the cockpit instead of under the bunks helps.

Right, that's about all that comes to mind for now :). Feel free to ask any more specific questions.

Pete
 

prv

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I thought Maxi went skint & were bought out.

Indeed, now owned by a Polish company I believe. Not that that will have any effect on the OP buying a 20-year-old example.

The UK Maxi expert (formerly the dealer for new boats, not sure if that's still the case) was Roger Moon at SD Marine at Hamble Point. We had a newsletter from SD which mentioned that he was retiring, but someone here on the forum said he was still there so I'm not sure what the situation actually is. But if the OP can get in touch with him I'm sure he'd be happy to talk Maxi to a possible new owner.

Pete
 

Tranona

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I thought Maxi went skint & were bought out.

Exactly. That is why I used the past tense. Does not affect the OP as he is looking at a boat built when the original company was in its prime. Recent test of a "Polish" Maxi suggested the boat lived up to the reputation of the brand.
 
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